After being hit with a significant outbreak of positive COVID-19 tests, the Canadiens announced both the Habs and Rocket will pause operations through January 6th in an effort to try to stop the spread. New executive VP Jeff Gorton released the following statement:
“Given all the new positive cases arising daily, and for the health of our players and staff, we feel that pausing our activities is necessary at this time. This pause will give our players the time they need to recover so that we can continue the season safely.”
Montreal’s next four games have been postponed due to restrictions on attendance set by the province so they’re not set to play again until January 12th. Meanwhile, Laval also announced their next three home games – set for the 5th, 7th, and 8th, have also been postponed. The AHL announced earlier today that they are adding a week to the end of their season which will give them a bit more of a window to try to reschedule some of their postponed games; the Rocket currently have five games to make up compared to eight for the Habs.
Of the 16 players that Montreal currently has in COVID protocol at the moment, at least nine should be able to clear by the time they return to practice. However, those who tested positive on the road trip – Cayden Primeau, Gianni Fairbrother, Louie Belpedio, Brandon Baddock, Jake Evans, and Alexander Romanov – won’t be able to rejoin the team as quickly as they have to wait 14 days before they can cross back into Canada according to border-crossing rules. Paul Byron’s protocol placement was not for a confirmed test but rather one from a family member so his case is a bit more uncertain.